What is the Defence Support Service Panel - and What Could It Mean to Workers?

By Kinexus on 18 May 2017
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The Defence Support Service Panel, or DSS Panel, is the latest iteration of the panel that the Capability, Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) use to acquire professional services from industry.

About 1,000 to 2,000 people are employed by Professional Service Provider (PSP) companies in Defence Sector, so this will effect a fair proportion of the white collar workforce.

The grandfather of DSS was called the Defence Material Organisation Support Services (DMOSS) Panel, which came into being in 2005.

The Request For Tender (RFT) for the DSS panel was released in April this year, and it contains a significant change to the old way of doing business. CASG has indicated that between four and six companies will be chosen as Major Service Providers (MSP). These MSP will be able to bid for large scale work, like the current Integrated Support Contracts (ISC), where a single company will be charged with running the above the line engineering, logistics and project support services for a whole program or Systems Program Office (SPO).

The 300+ members of the current Capability Acquisition and Sustainment – Support Services (CAS-SS) Panel, the son of DMOSS, are concerned that the MSP will be getting the lion’s share of the work. CASG says that this will not be the case, and there is certainly an opportunity to gain efficiencies from packaging up larger pieces of work.

Another potential change will be the appointment of a Project Management Office (PMO) partner; a company who, as best I can tell, will manage the overall resources of the panel.

In case you missed the recent DSS Panel briefing from CASG, here are some of the highlights.

DMOSS

  • Let over 1,000 contracts each year since 2013.
  • Spend around $300 million each year.

DSS Panel

  • 50% of the spend will go through the DSS Panel; similar to how it’s conducted today under DMOSS – little change.
  • ISC’s changing to MSP capability partner – the remaining 50% of spend.
  • Seven new skills sets.
  • 49 similar/ updated skill sets.
  • Panel term will be five years +2+2+1.
  • New panel in play from November 2017.

MSP Capability Partner

  • MSP’s need to cover 70% of the skill sets (level 2 – 4).
  • MSP’s expected to engage SME’s from the DSS panel and demonstrate spent/ percentage of work distributed.
  • MSP team will need to have a significant engineering/ tech focus; the lead might not, however.
  • 15 ISC’s have been let to date under

PMO – for DSS Panel and MSP Capability Partner

  • Will appoint a PMO support later in the process.
  • PMO – more of an insourced solution as opposed to an outsourced solution.
  • PMO partner not likely to be on an MSP or on

So, what does all this mean to workers and PSP’s? It’s conceivable that the DSS Panel will lead to PSP’s being able to better plan their workforce requirements, which may mean there is less requirement for contract work as they are able to plan their permanent hires better. However, this may occur around the same time as demand from below the line industry picks up and results in workers chasing more lucrative contract opportunities, instead of permanent roles in above the line work.

Watch out for other blogs from Kinexus as the situation in this important part of the Defence Sector evolves.

N.B.: I have written many blogs on Defence Sector topics, but I cannot recall one where I have been so unable to avoid the use of acronyms.

By Rob Kremer

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